PRIMARY PRODUCTION IN QUA IBOE RIVER ALONG IKOT OSURUA STATION, IKOT EKPENE AND ITS IMPLICATION ON FISHERIES
1.1 Background of the Study
Qua Iboe river is a perennial source of drinking water, fishing, aggregate miming of soft sand and gravel, transportation of timber and agricultural activities to the neighboring communities that inhabit the river coastal parts. The river source is narrow, swift and shallow to allow light penetration to get to the bottom to drive primary production through photosynthetic activities with phytoplankton. Primary production is the basis of biological production in any natural aquatic ecosystem.
Biological production “refers to the addition of new biomass to san organism or population of organisms as a result of feeding (Moses, 2002; Duxbury et al., 2002). Aquatic primary production may be defined as the amount or organic material produced per unit area per unit time; or simply as the product of phytoplankton biomass times phytoplankton growth rate (Cloern et al., 2014). The productivity of aquatic ecosystem depends on the rates of production of carbon and the nutrients in them which aquatic organisms depend on as a source of energy and nutrients for growth and survival. Primary production forms the first link in the food chain or food web that connects plants and animal in aquatic habitat (Sea Wifs Project, 2000). The aquatic biota solely depend on organic production of carbon for their sustenance (Ofor and Essien, 2012).
Primary production in aquatic system involves plankton, the term “plankton” means wandering and drifting and this generally encompasses three groups: the phytoplankton; the photosynthetic (plant) component and the zooplankton, ichthoplankton. This work, however concentrate on the microscope plant components, the phytoplankton which is the foundation of the aquatic food web and natural pasture of the seas, Oceans and rivers etc. the common features of all phytoplankton is that they contain chlorophyll; the accessory pigment that absorb solar energy and convert carbon dioxide and water into high-energy organic carbon compounds that fuels growth by synthesizing vital component such as lipids, protein, polysaccharide, and amino acid. Phytoplanktons falls under the classification of plants as crytograms which are sub-divided and classified as Algae, being found on wet substrata and are also microscopic in nature.
The role of phytoplankton as the main source of food supply for fish is well known (Radisew, 2005). Phytoplankton plays an important role in the dynamics of ecosystem metabolism and energetic. It is the primary source of organic carbon in the aquatic system. The tropical transfer of energy and essential biochemical contained in phytoplankton biomass is the resource base supporting production at higher trophic levels including food containing organism harvested for human consumption. Also primary production is associated with greater fishery landings, large population of benthic invertebrates etc (Cloern et al., 2014). Variability of phytoplankton production is the key to understanding variability of ecosystem respiration and metabolism, quality, secondary production by herbivores, fish catch and production of wild and cultured shellfish etc. (constanza et al., 1997).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The primary productivity of most natural aquatic water bodies in Nigeria has remained relatively understand, data on primary productivity of organic